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Ms. Vilhotti, Instructor  



Course Description, Objectives, & Grading

Course Description

Intensive instruction in academic writing and research. Basic principles of rhetoric and strategies for academic inquiry and argument. Instruction and practice in critical reading, including the generative and responsible use of print and electronic sources for academic research. Exploration of literate practices across a range of academic domains, laying the foundation for further writing development in college. Continued attention to grammar and conventions of standard written English.  Successful completion of ENG 101 requires a grade of C- or better.  This course satisfies the freshman composition and rhetoric component of the General Education Requirements in Writing and Speaking. 


A grade of C- or better in ENG 100 or placement via English department guidelines. 

First-Year Writing Program Website

You may review placement guidelines and access other relevant materials at the First-Year Writing Program's public website at www.ncsu.edu/firstyearwriting.

GER Category Objectives: Writing and Speaking

Each course in the writing and speaking category of the GERs will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:

   1. communicate effectively in specific writing or speaking situations, which may include various

academic, professional, or civic situations; and

   2. understand and respond appropriately to the critical elements that shape communication situations, such as audience, purpose, and genre; and

   3. critique their own writing or speaking and provide effective and useful feedback to enable other students to improve their writing or speaking; and

   4. demonstrate critical and evaluative thinking skills in locating, analyzing, synthesizing, and using information in writing or speaking activities.

ENG 101 Learning Objectives

In keeping with these general goals, ENG 101 is specifically designed to help students:

   1. Learn basic principles of rhetoric and develop an understanding of written texts as arguments generated for particular purposes, audiences, and rhetorical contexts.

   2. Examine similarities and differences in forms of inquiry and writing across academic disciplines.

   3. Practice analytical reading strategies and hone the ability to summarize, paraphrase, draw evidence from, synthesize, and respond to the scholarship of others.

   4. Learn to find and evaluate print and electronic source materials appropriate for academic research projects.

   5. Learn to develop original arguments for a range of academic purposes.

   6. Practice critically evaluating their own and others' work and collaborating effectively with other writers throughout the writing process.

   7. Practice and refine technical skills in areas such as grammar, mechanics, and the documentation of source materials.

 Required Texts and Materials

  • Kirscht, Judy and Mark Schlenz, Engaging Inquiry:  Research and Writing in the Disciplines.             Prentice-Hall, 2002. New $69.40, Used $52.05 (available at the NCSU bookstore: http://ncsu.collegestoreonline.com/ePOS#currentdept)
  • Anson, Chris et al. The Longman Concise Companion. Longman, 2007. New $26.25
  • As USB stick for memory storage.  The USB stick is a must; do not rely on emailing yourself an attachment, although you are encouraged to do so as a back-up option.  Remember, all documents saved to the hard drive of classroom computers are erased after you log off.
  • A set of at least 6 manilla folders. You will submit each project and all accompanying drafts in a separate folder.


A quality dictionary and thesaurus, or the habit of looking up words on reputable internet dictionaries and thesauruses. 

Course Organization and Major Projects

Unit I: Introduction (Week 1): Introduction to the disciplines

Unit II: Recognizing the features of popular and academic rhetoric (Weeks 2 -5)

Project A (10%): Rhetorical comparison of a popular and academic source

Project B (10%): Rhetorical comparison of differning stances on an issue

Unit III: Inquiry and Writing in the Social Sciences (Weeks 5 - 7)

Project C (20%): Participant observation study report (POSR) 

Unit III: Inquiry and Writing in the Humanities (Weeks 8-12)

Project D (10%) : Interpretation of a literary work

Project E (10%): Rhetorical analysis of literary criticism

Unit IV: Academic Discourse Communities: A Review and an Overview (Week 13 - 16)

Project F (20%): Capstone Project: Literature review and rhetorical analysis of how different disciplines handle the same topic

Project G (5%): Final exam oral presentation: based on Project F

Class participation (15%): Includes all homework, quizzes, peer review participation, and class discussion participation

Course Requirements and Grading

Coursework includes regular class attendance and participation, daily reading and writing assignments, four major written projects, and two oral presentations. All projects must be completed and submitted for a grade in order to pass this course. 

Use the following chart to see the way I distinguish grades in a +/- system:

A+   98                 A   95                    A-   90

B+   88                 B   85                    B-   80

C+   78                 C   75                    C-   70

D+   68                 D   65                    D-   60

F     58 and below

Criteria for Evaluation of Written Work

In grading your written work, I will look for a purposeful response to audience and situation, a clear and logical argument, thoughtful use of textual evidence, and effective use of appropriate formal and stylistic conventions. 

For further description of the First-Year Writing Program's criteria for evaluating writing see http://social.chass.ncsu.edu/fwp/standards2.html

Should these criteria appear vague, you need not worry.  I give extensive rubrics and detailed information regarding exactly what is expected on each assignment.  Clarity of expectations will never be an issue in my classroom. 

Class Participation

In order to facilitate the familial and intellectually challenging classroom utopia, above-average participation is a must.  Class participation grades will be awarded as follows: 

To earn a C-range participation grade, you must fulfill five basic requirements:

  • Arrive on time.
  • Be ready to discuss readings when called on.
  • Be prepared with the textbooks, reserve material, written homework, and your USB stick in class.
  • Listen attentively, making eye contact and tracking the speaker.  No slumping, dozing, gum-chewing, hemming, hawing, or other foolishness.
  • Engage actively and productively in group work, peer review, and other in-class activities.  Earn your seat in class. 

To earn a B-range participation grade, you must consistently fulfill requirements 1-5 and:

  • Volunteer questions or points of interest from readings to generate discussion.
  • Willingly offer ideas in class; make sure your contributions are topical, thoughtful, and actually have a relevant point. 

To earn an A-range participation grade, you must consistently fulfill the above 7 criteria and:

  • Show leadership in class discussion (break awkward silences; respond to open-ended questions; challenge preconceived opinion; ask difficult questions).
  • Respond to other students’ ideas (not just mine) by asking questions or building on their points. 

You will receive a failing participation grade if you are excessively and/or frequently tardy, you are unprepared for class, and/or you disrupt class work.